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With the advent of expanded instant replay, managers aren't allowed to argue with umpires over a call that has been reviewed. On Sunday, rookie manager Bryan Price nonetheless got himself run during the first inning of the Reds-Braves game after disputing a safe call on a pickoff play — one that appeared should have gone his way.
With two outs and B.J. Upton on first base with Justin Upton batting, pitcher Johnny Cueto threw over to first base on a pickoff throw. Joey Votto appeared to swipe Upton on the right hand before he got back to the bag, but umpire Greg Gibson didn't see it that way. Price bounded from the dugout to challenge the call; the review took one minute and 56 seconds and went against him. Replay officials in New York must have seen a more conclusive angle than the one from the Reds broadcast (in video above).
Once the ruling came down, Price came out of the dugout to argue again. Although all four umpires raised their hands to warn him that he was in danger of being ejected if he persisted, Price kept walking, and crew chief Bill Miller ejected him once he crossed the third base line. Also ejected was Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, who was in the dugout. From the Twitter feed of Cincinnati Enquirer beat reporter Trent Rosencrans (@ctrent):
Via Rosencrans, Price was standing up for his team on principle because he still felt the call had been blown:
In the end, we're not just going to bend over -- the play was right there in front of us and he was out. I don't know how much... We're not just going to take this," Price said. "This isn't OK. When you've got something playing repeatedly on the screen that says the runner's out and they call him safe, I mean, as the Cincinnati Reds, we're not just going to sit here and say, 'hey that's OK. We're going to take it, chalk it up to whatever.' It seemed to me very apparent the runner was out and he wasn't called out. I didn't get it. And I think it was time to say, hey we need to figure things out here."
In getting ejected for arguing a replay, Price joined a short list of managers, one that prior to Sunday included only Red Sox manager John Farrell (ejected April 13) and Rangers manger Ron Washington (ejected April 14). It was the first time a Reds manager was ejected since Dusty Baker got the heave-ho on August 28, 2011, and the first time any Red was tossed since Brandon Phillips on September 1, 2012.
For as frustrating as the apparent blown call may have been, its cost was minimal in the grand scheme. Upton wound up being stranded after Cueto induced Chris Johnson to pop out two pitches later, and in fact the game remained scoreless into the 10th inning as Cueto and Atlanta starter Julio Teheran shut out the opposition, each delivering eight innings of three-hit ball. Cueto whiffed 11 while walking three. Teheran — who won a 1-0 duel against the Phillies' Cliff Lee on April 16 — walked two and whiffed five.
The Braves finally won in the bottom of the 10th inning when Jayson Heyward, B.J. Upton and Freddie Freeman collected consecutive one-out singles, with the first two coming against J.J. Hoover and the last off Manny Parra. Freeman's hit would have counted for extra bases had Heyward's winning run not scored so quickly:
[mlbvideo id="32435667" width="600" height="336" /] Via Baseball-Reference.com, the game was already the 14th 1-0 contest of the year, compared to 48 for all of last season. These two teams are no strangers to such duels, with the Braves in an MLB-high five this year (they're 3-2) and the Reds four (1-3).